How to Operate a Successful Medical Spa Myths Debunked



IAPAM Debunks Top 3 Medical Spa Myths

In today’s economy, and given the growth in accessibility and acceptance of aesthetic medicine procedures, it is very important that practitioners understand: “what is working” and “what is not” in their practices, in order to have a successful and profitable medical spa. Debunking the top 3 “Medical Spa Myths” may be all that is standing in the way of any practice from reaching its fullest potential.

The IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine) has reviewed its member profiles in order to identify some of the common traits among its most successful medical spas and aesthetic medicine practices.

Jeff Russell comments that, “In our research, we have found that three myths prevent success in the industry.” They are that:
(1) Botox® is the big money maker, 
(2) MedSpa owners need a $200,000+ laser system; and 
(3) A free weekend training course is all that is required to fully educate physicians

 Make your patients your priority, make time for continuing education and keep an eye on your expenses 

1) Botox® is Not the Biggest Money Maker:
Botox® provides the entry into the medical spa arena for most patients, but it is not the physician’s most profitable procedure. From what IAPAM has seen, Botox® Cosmetic will certainly bring people into one’s practice, but with stiff competition, it is far from a moneymaker.

“Over the last 2 years, Allergan has done a wonderful job educating the public about its Botox Cosmetic® and Juvederm® filler products, which is helping get people in the doors,” says Russell. “Many times physicians and medical spa owners think that all they need to do is put up a shingle saying they now offer Botox® and people will come running. The truth is that there is much more profit in other aesthetic medicine procedures like physician strength chemical peels, than with cosmetic injectables like Botulinum Toxin Type A (i.e. Botox®) and dermal fillers (i.e. Juvederm®, Restylane®, Perlane®, Radiesse®).”

2) Physicians Do Not Need a $200,000 Laser System to Launch a Practice:
Instead, the laser system should grow with the practice. Before committing to expensive laser equipment, medispa owners need to calculate the number of patients they would be required to treat each month in order to make a specific laser equipment lease payment. The size of the practice, at start-up, should dictate the initial equipment investment. Fortunately, the flexibility in the latest laser equipment allows one to add handpieces, as the practice needs them. Physicians are much better off to start with a basic IPL/Laser System for $100,000, and then add additional handpieces as the patient-base grows.

3) A Weekend Training Course is Only the First Step in a Long Rewarding Journey:

So many times, physicians attend a free weekend training course in the hopes of learning everything there is to know about opening a medical spa or aesthetic practice. Unfortunately, the reality of the market place is that most of these seminars are often run by laser manufacturers or consulting firms, both of whom are ultimately guiding you to purchase their products and services. A physician may start along the information path by attending a weekend program, but one needs to have ongoing educational and peer support, and access to additional CME approved clinical training.

“You need to look at entering the aesthetic field as a journey; you are not going to learn everything you need to enter the industry in one weekend, so you need to have access to accredited on-going clinical training, medical textbooks, DVD’s and reputable on-line resources in order to hone your skills, just as you did in medical school,” reminds Russell.

The underlying theme here is — Be Prepared and Stay Aware! The key to any business success, including opening a medical spa or aesthetic medicine practice, is having clinical expertise coupled with strong business acumen. “Make your patients your priority, make time for continuing education and keep an eye on your expenses,” counsels Russell.

“As you develop and grow your medical spa, you are going to experience the same growing pains common to any new business; the key is identifying, or ideally anticipating them, and responding with proven solutions. The IAPAM, through events such its The Aesthetic Medicine Symposium, which is held in Scottsdale, Arizona strives to provide a forum where experts and peers can share industry innovations, be educated on new and existing technologies and procedures, and communicate about industry challenges and tested solutions.”

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